Next, read this lecture on how to fix comma splices and run-on sentences, and then complete the practice activities in which you correctly punctuate sentences to avoid the errors of comma splices and run-ons. Once you have completed the practice activities, check your answers against the Answer Key. You will learn more about using commas and other punctuation to craft complete sentences in Unit 3.
A COMMA SPLICE occurs when a comma separates clauses that can each stand alone as a sentence.
Example: Albert Einstein worked as a clerk,he was a brilliant scientist.
The comma separates two complete sentences, creating a comma splice. Comma splices make sentences difficult to understand, because ideas are not separated the way that they should be.
Another common error is the RUN-ON SENTENCE. This error occurs when two or more independent clauses that could each stand alone as a sentence are joined together. The clauses have no punctuation or linking words in between them. As a result, the sentence keeps on going after it should have ended, making it difficult to understand.
Example: Albert Einstein worked as a clerk he was a brilliant scientist.
This sentence joins two independent clauses without punctuation or linking words (conjunctions), creating a RUN-ON.
BEFORE YOU GO ON, REVIEW THESE TERMS:
Coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so
Some students find the acronym FANBOYS helps them to remember these. A coordinating conjunction combines ideas in a sentence, giving the ideas equal emphasis.
Subordinating conjunctions: There are many, but here are some common ones:
after, although, as, because, before, even though, unless, when, where, while, until, in order that, if, since, once, etc.
A subordinating conjunction emphasizes one idea more than another.
Conjunctive adverbs: There are many, but here are some common ones:
however, furthermore, therefore, likewise, accordingly, similarly, consequently, moreover, etc.
A conjunctive adverb shows the relationship between independent clauses.
There are several ways to fix COMMA SPLICES and RUN-ON SENTENCES:
Remember, not all methods will fix every COMMA SPLICE or RUN-ON. Some work better than others in certain situations.
Albert Einstein worked as a clerk. He was a brilliant scientist.
Albert Einstein worked as a clerk, but he was a brilliant scientist.
Although Albert Einstein worked as a clerk, he was a brilliant scientist.
Albert Einstein worked as a clerk; he was a brilliant scientist.
Albert Einstein worked as a clerk; nevertheless, he was a brilliant scientist.
All of the above sentences are correct; however, you should know that if you use a semicolon to join independent clauses, the ideas in them should be closely related. For example, since the following two sentences are unrelated, linking them with a semicolon is incorrect:
I am trying to decide on a college major; I hope the dorms have a laundry facility.
Such a sentence is confusing because the two ideas are not closely related.
Practice I: Punctuate the following sentences using the comma rules:
Practice II: Correct FIVE of the following comma splices and run-on sentences by adding a period. Correct the other FIVE by using a comma and a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).